I am a 21-year-old woman who is scared of sexual intimacy. I have no history of sexual abuse and think my problem is to do with my intrusive thoughts: fear that I might not be good in bed, that I might get pregnant or that my body might not be attractive to my partner. Because of this, I avoid all types of relationship. I have made out with people before, but anything further terrifies me.
Your problem is not just a sexual disorder. Certain psychological issues, such as anxiety, depression, phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and some personality disorders can significantly affect the ability to enjoy sex or even to be comfortable when close to another human being. In order to have sex without the terror you experience, it is vital that you seek help with your broader psychological issues. You deserve to be able to have pleasure and make love with another person if that is what you want. But beyond sex, you also deserve to feel safe in the world generally.
If you would like advice from Pamela on sexual matters, send us a brief description of your concerns to [email protected] (please don’t send attachments). Each week, Pamela chooses one problem to answer, which will be published online. She regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence. Submissions are subject to our terms and conditions.